Adaptogens are like a nutritional best friend. How many of you have an awesome best friend? The kind of friend who is there when you are happy and sad. The kind of best friend who knocks on your door when you don’t answer your texts because they know something is wrong. When they see the look on your face, they know right away what you need. It might be you need some time to laugh and watch lifetime movies or that you need someone to tell you to lace up your boots and get some things done. That’s what awesome adaptogens are like. They help support your body’s needs to bring it back to balance.

Stress and Adaptogens

Stress is always coming at us from multiple fronts and our body is constantly trying to adapt to stressors and return to homeostasis, or a natural state of balance. If your body is displaying a symptom it’s because your body is responding to stressors. This might be environmental, physical, or mental assaults on the body. Adaptogens are plants that help your body respond to stressors, but they do it in a nonspecific way. So, that means your body might respond very different compared to someone else who is taking the same herb (or fungi). It will be different based on the physiological need.

Basically, they help you adapt to what is stressing your body out and they do it on multiple fronts. For example, an adaptogen might give you energy if you are feeling tired but that same herb could calm you down if you are overstimulated. It’s not an energy drink that will give you wings but it potentially can give you what you need to heal. You might think you need energy, but your body might need to rest for healing. They contain a varied range of constituents that work together to support your body. Sounds like a nutritional best friend to me.

Our modern day lives are full of stresses. Some of them we can’t avoid and some of them we put on ourselves. You can’t abuse your body and rely on using adaptogens to keep you going. So, make sure you are finding ways to support your body and removing stressors. An adaptogen can help you with unavoidable toxins or while you find out what is stressing your body out.

So, let’s talk about 6 awesome adaptogens and their potential benefits. But remember benefits will be very specific to the individual and how their body needs to adapt.

6 Awesome Adaptogens and their Potential Benefits

1) Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a very popular supplement making their way into teas and tinctures everywhere. This root has been used for thousands of years and is commonly known as Indian ginseng. Researchers believe the high concentrations of withanolides are at the root of its many potential benefits. I love it for its ability to help the adrenals adapt and support hormonal balance.

  • Can support healthy adrenal function and hormone regulation
  • Encourages healthy response to everyday stress
  • Can help energy levels
  • May promote healthy sleep

2) Astragalus

There are many biochemical reasons to love this adaptogenic herb and the ways astragalus can support your immune response. It is one of the most component dense herbs with 126 different constituents including flavonoids, saponins, polysaccharides and amino acids that work with each other to help the body adapt when you take this herb. It’s commonly taken to help fight colds and flus but there are numerous benefits.

  • Can restore and enhance immune response
  • Promotes glucose homeostasis
  • Supports healthy adrenal and digestive function
  • Buffers the effects of stress

3) Reishi

Medicinal mushrooms are amazing and reishi is known as the mushroom of immortality. Mushrooms can survive in crazy places and the components can help you adapt too. Especially the high levels of immunomodulating polysaccharides found in the walls of these mushrooms. Unique to the reishi mushroom is the high amounts of triterpenoids that researchers have found may also help fend off virus. Learn more about the benefits of medicinal mushrooms and identifying a quality supplement in our article.

  • Can support immune response
  • Immunomodulatory
  • Can reduce inflammation
  • Supports liver function

4) Licorice

Licorice root has many health benefits as well as being an adaptogen that has been used for thousands of years. This adaptogenic supplement is known for its support of adrenal function and specifically it’s capacity to help regulate cortisol. Too much cortisol (or too little) is a sign of chronic stress on the body. You might also know of the common digestive benefits of licorice like reducing nausea and acid reflux.

  • Can regulate cortisol
  • Supports immune response
  • Aids adrenal function

5) Schisandra

This medicinal berry is such a beneficial supplement for women and an amazing adaptogen. Schisandra impacts all the liver pathways and supports liver function. Your liver is critical for removing toxins and integral to hormone conversion so supporting the liver is an essential way to support your health. This adaptogen is known for its ability to help you age well thanks to its many benefits.

  • Supports liver function
  • Aids adrenal function
  • Eases everyday tension and stress
  • Supports immune response

6) Rehmannia

Rehmannia can help you respond to the occasional stressors that come your way as well as being an adrenal support. It helps the adrenals with the production of stress hormones. Because of it’s ability to support the adrenal glands and liver it can help with metabolizing those stress hormones that play a role in hormonal balance.

  • Supports adrenal gland and liver health
  • Promotes a healthy response to environmental stress
  • Helps balance hormones

Using Adaptogens Effectively

Adaptogens are awesome and many people will experience the support of normalizing physiological functions. Because they help the body respond to stressors, they can be beneficial to many of us especially those who are low in some of the components found in adaptogens. It can be costly to throw every adaptogen in the book at whatever ails you. To help find out what is stressing your body get tested and then a proficient practitioner can help you determine what adaptogens will best support your body.

Adaptogens are pretty awesome but remember the benefits will be individual.

Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn